A Midsummer's Night! Summer Solstice! Milestone days repeated in literature and feted in art, music, pageantry, and religion for as long summer itself.
In France, and in Belgium too, there is a calendar day to mark this step over from Spring's rocky shore onto Summer's party barge ---International Music Day, a euphonic celebration that invites music, and you, to take center stage.
For some time now, 21 June is also known as the Fête de la Musique, a one-night only opportunity for local musicians, dancers, and singers to perform live, in the squares and restaurants, outside doorways, or on a bridge overlooking the Seine. If you've been eyeing that dusty accordion in your closet, today would be the day to blow off the coating of embarrassment that has kept it hidden and come out and play.
This idea was first hatched in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohen, the working for the national French radio station "France Musique." Cohen proposed an all-night music festival on summer solstice, inviting amateurs and professionals to play music in the streets. The idea was noodled by the French Minister of Culture in 1981, eh voila, the first fete took place in 1982.
The perennial slogan "Faites de la Musique" (make music) sounds just like "Fête de la Musique" (Celebration of Music). And who doesn't love a homophone?! So, grab your homophone, or saxophone, or get on the phone, and hit the streets of France on June 21. The days are longer, the nights warmer, and there is music in the air.